What is a living trust?

A living trust is a document by which the owner of an asset transfers ownership of that asset to a trustee. The alleged benefit of the trust is to remove that asset from one’s probateable estate by relinquishing ownership. According to the marketers of these trusts, removing assets from one’s probatable estate will result in significant tax savings and will avoid the probate process. 


However, a living trust is very costly and in most cases not necessary. Avoiding probate is not always a guarantee. Even if there is just one titled asset, such as a vehicle, left out of the trust probate will still be necessary.

Also, a vast majority of estates are not subject to any federal or estate taxes. Generally, the probate process is very easy. There is only a ten day waiting period from the date of death before a will can be probated. Once that time has passed, the process can begin and be completed within a few days if the will is properly executed and no one is contesting the probate.

Senior citizens especially are cautioned to be aware of solicitation for living trusts.

Show All Answers

1. What is a Surrogate?
2. What is it meant to probate?
3. Are wills registered?
4. How do I begin the probate process?
5. Do I need an appointment?
6. What if there is no will?
7. What is the purpose of a surety bond and why is it required?
8. How do I get released from the surety bond?
9. How is distribution made if there is no will?
10. Without a will, how much is the surviving spouse entitled to?
11. What paperwork is necessary for a small estate when the decedent died without a will?
12. What information should I collect?
13. What is a Surrogate short certificate?
14. How many Surrogate short certificates will I need?
15. I am Power of Attorney; does this mean I can access the estate assets?
16. Where can I get more death certificates?
17. What are the basic obligations of the Executor or Administrator?
18. Is it necessary to notice all beneficiaries and next of kin that the will was probated?
19. Where does the Executor / Administrator obtain the funds to pay debts?
20. Do I have to pay all claims?
21. Am I entitled to compensation for acting as the Executor or Administrator?
22. How do I get a will out of a safe deposit box?
23. What if the will is not properly executed?
24. What is a formal accounting?
25. Do I need a formal accounting?
26. Does a divorce revoke the entire will?
27. Can I prepare my own will?
28. Where should I keep my will?
29. Do I still need a will even if I have a small estate?
30. What is a living trust?